Natal Midlands

Between Pietermaritzburg and the Drakensberg, is a beautiful region filled with stretches of farmland and charming little towns, known as the Natal Midlands

KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsThe Natal Midlands

Inland of Durban, lying in an area that acts as something of a respite for all who go there, between Pietermaritzburg and the Drakensberg, is a beautiful region filled with stretches of farmland, charming little towns, a wonderful arts and crafts route and picturesque scenery bordering on the sublime, known as the Natal Midlands.

Where? The Natal Midlands, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Overnight? See Natal Midlands accommodation, in KwaZulu Natal

The Natal Midlands is rich with water - rivers, lakes, dams and waterfalls are abundant - and the landscape is endowed with green pastures, hills and forests, whilst the northern reaches of the Midlands are dominated by the foothills and mountains of the Drakensberg.

If you’re not hiking then spend time exploring the many coffee shops, art galleries, pretty guest houses, cheese farms, trout farms, potters, weavers and painters who have made this region their home. The Midlands Meander is now a wonderfully refreshing mix of over 150 places at which to eat, drink and shop, and extends from Rietvlei and Curry’s Post to Dargle Valley and Fort Nottingham - 80 kilometres of activity.

With Howick Falls on your doorstep, the Albert Falls Dam Nature Reserve with its nature trails, picnic spots, some of the best bass fishing and great birding; the Kamberg Nature Reserve, framed by the Drakensberg Mountains with some incredible scenery and place to walk and picnic; and the Loteni Nature Reserve - a great place for trout fishing, there is plenty for one to do.

But you would be forgiven for using your time here simply to drink in the sights, sounds and fresh air of the Natal Midlands, for without doubt here is a place to restore the soul.

Popular Towns in the Natal Midlands

Albert Falls

Overnight? Accommodation in Albert Falls
Albert Falls Dam is rated as one of the best bass fishing dams in the world. The area around the dam is filled with secluded nature trails which form part of the Albert Falls Nature Reserve. Below Midmar Dam the river plunges some 111 metres down...

More information and photographs: Albert Falls Dam Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Balgowan
North of Howick, in the central part of the Midlands Meander that lies between Nottingham Road and Lidgetton, lies Balgowan, one of the most beautiful parts of the country with weather that invariably rolls all four seasons into one, but which...

More information and photographs: Balgowan Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Baynesfield
Baynesfield is a tiny little village roughly 22 minutes' drive south west of Pietermaritzburg. Pretty to drive through, it is the home of Baynesfield Estate, a museum, and a little railway station, but little more. Named after Joseph Baynes...

More information and photographs: Baynesfield Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Boston
The little town of Boston is barely distinguishable in its own right. Rather it is linked to Bulwer in what has recently become known as the Boston-Bulwer Beat, just over an hour’s drive from Durban in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains...

More information and photographs: Boston Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Bulwer
The Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve lies just next to Yellowwood Park in Durban, an extension of the D'Moss green lung in the south western parts of Yellowwood Park. The 253 hectare Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve is regarded as one of...

More information and photographs: Bergville Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Cramond
The small town of Cramond is situated close to Albert Falls in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is, officially, part of the UMgungundlovu District Municipality. This province is a popular tourist destination as Durban is home to the...

More information and photographs: Cramond Information

Currys Post

Overnight? Accommodation in Currys Post
Curry’s Post is a beautifully scenic area in the heart of the Midlands Meander that lies between Mooi River and Howick. It has a quaint history that involves the Curry Family, after whom Curry’s Post is named, who settled here, establishing an...

More information and photographs: Currys Post Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Dargle
The Dargle Valley and conservancy area is set in the midst of the Midlands Meander in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg - a land of magic waterfalls, river gorges, grassland, indigenous forest, wild flowers and wetlands...

More information and photographs: Dargle Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Donnybrook
The distinctly Irish lilt to the name of Donnybrook misrepresents the rural village that lies in the midst of green hills on Route 612, between Ixopo and Bulwer, south west of Pietermaritzburg. There is little other than a police and petrol...

More information and photographs: Donnybrook Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Eston
Eston is real sugarcane country. Head out here from Durban and you're privy to a series of rolling hills, cattle farmlands, and fields of sugarcane. You get a pretty good idea of what most of the surrounding countryside must have looked...

More information and photographs: Eston Information

Fort Nottingham

Stay? Accommodation Fort Nottingham
Fort Nottingham is a very wee village just up the road from the more popular, vibrant town of Nottingham Road, in the Midlands. Back in 1856 the fort came into being when Queen Victoria sent the Nottinghamshire regiment, the 45th Sherwood...

More information and photographs: Fort Nottingham Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Greytown
Often referred to as the ‘jewel of KwaZulu Natal, Greytown lies in the forest-clad, rolling hills of the Natal Midlands, a picturesque little town originally settled during the 1850s and subsequently awash with buildings of note, scenic...

More information and photographs: Greytown Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Harburg
Harburg lies off R614 just beyond Wartburg, one of several German communities that mushroomed after 1840. German settlers arrived to grow cotton for the Natal Cotton Company, but their attempts failed and many of the Bergtheil colonists who...

More information and photographs: Harburg Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Hidcote
Being situated in the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal Province means that the whole Hidcote area enjoys some of the most wonderful scenery in all of South Africa. It is draped in natural beauty, thanks to the lush vegetation that characterises...

More information and photographs: Hidcote Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Hilton
Hiltons beginnings originated in the purchase of a large portion of the farm Ongegund in 1857 by Joseph Henderson, whose wife called their farm ‘Hilton’. Hilton is a good five degrees cooler than Pietermaritzburg, and it is this access to fresh air...

More information and photographs: Hilton Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Hlutankungu
Deep in the heart of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, at the foot of the rolling mountain ranges of this region, lies Hlutankungu. This little area may not be well known on an international tourism scale, but Hlutankungu is a...

More information and photographs: Hlutankungu Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Howick
Known as the place of many waterfalls, owing to the many tributaries of the uMngeni River that tumble down gorges and over sharp inclines on their way to the Indian Ocean, Howick is possibly best known as the place where Nelson Mandela was...

More information and photographs: Howick Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Ixopo
Ixopo is the main centre of the Southern Midlands and forms part of an important sugar farming, and forestry area. Although originally called 'Stuartstown', the original Zulu name 'Ixopo' has prevailed. This charming town is not a major...

More information and photographs: Ixopo Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Karkloof
Karkloof is a beautiful range of hills stretching for over 50 kilometres between Rietvlei, Curry’s Post and Howick in the Midlands of Natal. This area includes a steep, flat-topped kloof and an extensive range of mist belt forests, home to the...

More information and photographs: Karkloof Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Kranskop
The rather little village of Kranskop lies just 36km north east of Greytown in the Midlands of KwaZulu Natal. It rests in the shadow of a rocky ridge that is undoubtedly the reason for its name change from the original 'Hopetown'...

More information and photographs: Kranskop Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Lidgetton
Close to Howick in the southern parts of the central Midlands, Lidgetton is little more than a quaint trading post that today boasts something of an artists’ community, a café and post office, as well as a surrounding township that has...

More information and photographs: Lidgetton Information

Lions River

Overnight? Accommodation in Lions River
The little hamlet of Lions River lies between Lidgetton and Howick right in the heart of the Natal Midlands about an hour’s drive from Durban; a tiny modest ‘if you blink you might miss it’ village, with not much beyond a trading store to lure...

More information and photographs: Lions River Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Merrivale
The south western suburb of Howick is a series of typical tree-lined, garden bedecked streets. A not-quite-as-smart as Howick neighbourhood, the typical country lifestyle is nonetheless in evidence in the character homes, whilst trees and...

More information and photographs: Merrivale Information

Mid Illovo

Overnight? Accommodation in Mid Illovo
Mid Illovo is set amongst the mountains and hills of the Midlands, which tumble dramatically to create a breath-taking scene in which to relax, unwind and regroup from the pace of city life. Africa is renowned in the hearts and minds of those who...

More information and photographs: Mid Illovo Information

Mooi River

Overnight? Accommodation in Mooi River
Mooi River is a farming and textile centre which was originally named Lawrenceville after the Irish farmer who formalised its settlement during the 1800s. Mooi River took its name from the Voortrekker description of its river - "mooi" translates...

More information and photographs: Mooi River Information

New Hanover

Overnight? Accommodation in New Hanover
New Hanover is a small farming community town just north east of the Albert Falls Dam. It lies on Route 33 between Pietermaritzburg and Greytown. There's little to the town to merit a stop. A general dealers called Mafutas, which does have...

More information and photographs: New Hanover Information

Nottingham Road

Stay? Accommodation Nottingham Road
‘Notties’, as the locals are apt to call Nottingham Road, began as a tented camp, set up by the Sherwood Foresters in 1856 as a military fort to protect farmers in the area from raiding San hunter gatherers, who were indigenous to the area...

More information and photographs: Nottingham Road Information


Overnight? Accommodation Pietermaritzburg
Set in the heart of the Natal Midlands in KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg is a city of charm and dignity, at its loveliest in spring when masses of azaleas burst into bloom. When the first Voortrekkers arrived in 1837, they found a tranquil...

More information and photographs: Pietermaritzburg Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Richmond
The town of Richmond lies in the Natal Midlands, and is roughly an hour-and-a-half's drive from Durban, using the R56 off near Camperdown on the N3, to get there. The little town is rather unglamorously described, together with Ladysmith, as well...

More information and photographs: Richmond Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Rosetta
Rosetta is one of those little villages that, until recently, would have been relegated to a passing glance as you drove through it, on the way to elsewhere. Originally the area was dominated by the Rosetta Farm, granted by the Crown in 1861...

More information and photographs: Rosetta Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Sevenoaks
Sevenoaks train station lies just off the R33, south of where it passes the Umvoti Vlei Nature Reserve, between Greytown and Dalton. This is the open countryside of KwaZulu-Natal, typically a farming area where sugarcane is the predominant crop...

More information and photographs: Sevenoaks Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Wartburg
This little piece of Germany is surrounded by hamlets of definitive origin: Harburg, New Hanover, Kirchdorf, Lillienthal, Schroeders and Hermannsburg. Wartburg itself is named after the castle in Eisenach where Dr Martin Luther translated the...

More information and photographs: Wartburg Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Weenen
It is an interesting name for a town, Weenen. The town, set on the banks of the Bushmans River, means 'place of weeping', originating as far back as 1838 when it was laid out in a Voortrekker grid pattern similar to many old villages in South...

More information and photographs: Weenen Information

Did you know?

Much of the Natal Midlands is popularised by the Midlands Meander – a self-drive arts, crafts, eateries and farmstay route that is a retreat for holiday makers. It is best done with some advance research, and a Midlands Meander guide (available at most stores en route) in hand to uncover the real treats and first-rate spots.

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